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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffThe_Emperor_Of_Television Date: Mar 22, 2014 6:00pm
Forum: classic_tv Subject: Television from exactly 65 years ago (it turned 65 years old a few minutes ago), episode of "Texaco Star Theater" from 22 March 1949, with Ethel Merman, Keye Luke, Teddy Hale, and your host Milton Berle

https://archive.org/details/TexacoStarTheater22March1949

Yes, this episode aired live at 8:00PM in New York City and connected stations, over the NBC Television Network. A kinescope was made for time-delay.

"Texaco Star Theater", with a mix of comedy and music, debuted in 1948.

Television was still fairly new when this episode aired:

So new, in fact, Keye Luke looks at the audience after each joke as if it were a radio program;

So new, in fact, that they haven't yet mastered the lighting during the Ethel Merman segment (very unflattering lighting to say the least);

So new, in fact, that there is only a single commercial, which takes the form of a long comedy sketch (not an uncommon idea at the time);

So new, in fact, that one of the performers was born in 1877...and she sings and dances!

Yes, the program is primitive and dated. Some of the jokes are references that time has obscured. Keye Luke's segment is very politically incorrect and somewhat embarrassing. Sets are basic.

Yet, at the same time, the show was a huge hit at the time. It was one of the first "hits" of television. This show paved the way for all the big variety series which followed.

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Poster: R Pal Date: Mar 24, 2014 1:02pm
Forum: classic_tv Subject: Re: Television from exactly 65 years ago (it turned 65 years old a few minutes ago), episode of 'Texaco Star Theater' from 22 March 1949, with Ethel Merman, Keye Luke, Teddy Hale, and your host Milton Berle

Thanks for bringing this show to my attention. My wife and I watched it on Sunday evening. This was undoubtedly the most entertaining thing on TV on March 23rd, 2014.
I had limited exposure to Milton Berle back then but I was very impressed with his performance on this show. In the first few seconds he subdues two skittish horses with his lance and then does some slight juggling with it even though he is somewhat upset by the mishap.
He seems part ring master, part promoter and definitely a smart comedian. You can watch him judge the audience as he tells jokes and shifts the ones he uses to match what works with them. The personalities displayed by most of the performers is wonderful too. And Luke gets in a couple of shots of his own so don't feel too bad. If someone would translate here what he calls Milton I would be pleased.

Thanks again.